Personal Computers

Dell Debuts Diminutive Desktop

Dell rolled out its entry in the emerging ultra-small PC category Tuesday: the Dell Studio Hybrid. The desktop joins other systems in the category, including the Apple Mac mini and HP’s Slimline series.

The Studio Hybrid, roughly the size of a large hardbound novel, is about 80 percent smaller than the average desktop minitower and uses significantly less energy, according to Dell.

The Texas-based computer company also announced two new Inspiron PCs — the Inspiron 13 laptop and Inspiron 518 desktop.

Mobile Processor, Desktop Design

The Studio Hybrid, so called because it features a mobile processor in a desktop, offers users a PC that perhaps looks more like a living room accessory than a computer. The mini PC can be set up in a vertical or horizontal orientation and measures 8.8 by 3 by 8.3 inches. It comes with interchangeable external finishes and color sleeves in bamboo, emerald, quartz, ruby, sapphire, slate and topaz.

The system is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processors ranging in speed from 1.86 GHz to 2.6 GHz, with up to 4 GB of memory and a hard drive with up to 320 GB of storage. Consumers can opt for the standard CD/DVD burner or upgrade to a Blu-ray disc drive. Intel also handles the graphics with its Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100. The Studio Hybrid also comes with DVI (digital visual interface) and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports as well as an optional TV tuner and remote.

Consumers can also add WiFi networking, a wireless keyboard and mouse and up to a 24-inch flat panel display into the purchase.

“It packs a lot in that small package. It’s a small desktop, but it’s using a mobile processor, so what that enables is a high level of computing performance but in a smaller package because mobile processors are more thermally sensitive. Even though it looks small, it’s still a powerhouse,” Richard Shim, an IDC analyst, told TechNewsWorld.

Looks and Substance

The Studio Hybrid is also designed to be easy on the environment. It’s part of Dell’s efforts to reduce the power output of its systems by 25 percent by the year 2010. The company announced the commitment to greener computing in May.

“This is part of that movement, part of the general desktop PC market dynamics, where all the manufacturers are trying to get smaller and sleeker in an effort to be more energy sensitive and pay attention to style and design,” Shim said.

Continuing the green theme, Dell is also using 30 percent less packing material and 75 percent less documentation than the average tower desktop, the company said. The packing materials are 95 percent recyclable, and the company has also thrown in a system recycling kit.

Available Tuesday, the Studio Hybrid starts at US$499. Personalizing the system with a Bamboo cover will run $130; however, other colors are included in the price.

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